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#NYCSchoolsTech Summit & Beyond Award Winners

This year’s #NYCSchoolsTech award recipients represent a diversity of grade levels, titles, subject areas, and boroughs. These staff members were recognized for their commitment to harnessing the power of technology to best serve students, staff, and families across New York City. 

Ashley Ufret headshot

Ashley Ufret
Classroom Teacher/CSforALL: SEPjr & Equity Teacher Trainer & Facilitator Elementary/ CSTA Equity Fellow: CS & Equity Content Integration Specialist

In an effort to advocate for and  empower her students, over the  past 4 years, Ashley Ufret has 
dedicated her personal time toward professional development  in the content and instructional  practices of CS and Equity.

  • Current School: P.S.375 Jackie Robinson School
  • First role: NYC Teaching Fellows, Dual language Teacher
  • Years worked for the DOE: Six years

MAJOR MILESTONES: 

  • Completed Level 4 Exploring Equity in Computer Science (EECS) Badging
  • 21-22 CSTA Equity Fellow
  • Created and Co-facilitated 4 part Equity Series for Sep Jr. All Cohort Sessions to bring attention to the need for Equity in CS and support elementary CS teachers with integrating Equity within CS

Brian Jordan
School Computer Technology Specialist

Throughout the pandemic Brian Jordan built a new website and platform for remote support successfully having x219 online and fully remote before official systems were even launched.

  • Current School: I.S. 219 New Venure School
  • First role: Student Intern
  • Years worked for the DOE: Eight years

MAJOR MILESTONES: 

  • Built and configured one of the first Mac Servers in the DOE capable of imaging multiple Macs, known as the imaging corner
  • Programing, setting up and installing a custom digital signage solution completely cloud managed
Brian Jordan headshot
Inasia Pelle headshot

Inasia Pelle
Parent Coordinator, School Webmaster

Inasia Pelle was given the role of School Webmaster with little idea of what it entailed. After attending a mandatory DigIn Camp training, she learned of the eChalk platform and knew right away that this would be the best route to improving her school’s website, especially its accessibility compliance. Once on board, Pelle was able to lead a collaborative team of support staff in creating a new, improved, and accessible website!

  • Current School: NDSS (New Directions Secondary School)
  • First role: Parent Coordinator
  • Years worked for the DOE: Three years

MAJOR MILESTONES: 

  • First Generation CUNY Lehman College 2022 Master's Graduate
  • Joined NDSS as Parent Coordinator in 2019
  • Led NDSS rebranding i.e. election of new school colors and revamped website
  • Kept 90% of families and students connected during remote instruction through device loans and free/discounted internet service
  • Contributed to 11% student attendance increase in 2021-2022 School Year, which brought NDSS to its highest Year to Date attendance percentage ever (80%)

Jason Jorgensen
Social Studies Teacher

Jason Jorgensen is always looking for new and better ways to help students and colleagues alike. He feels that teaching 21st century skills is super important and has taught many how to use edtech platforms, helping colleagues through tech and edtech crises.

  • Current School: Montauk I.S. 223
  • First role: Teacher
  • Years worked for the DOE: Twenty-three years

MAJOR MILESTONES: 

  • Joined IS 223 in 1999 and has worked there his entire career
  • 2014 - Introduced to edtech by the one and only Lisa Nielsen and his creativity has taken off. Has empowered his students voice through the use of tech and and an afterschool student government group and weekly student voice group meetings
  • 2020 - implemented Common Sense Education to his school
Jason Jorgensen headshot
Kevin Larkin headshot

Kevin Larkin
Computer Teacher/SPOC

Kevin Larkin expanded the SEP program at JHS 185 and hosted 3-5 Hackathons per year. He created an inventory from scratch of what devices were actually in the building over the course of several months. He created a screencast on how to work with the Windows policy editor for teachers in the early days of the pandemic.

  • Current School: JHS 185 Edward Bleeker
  • First role: Teacher
  • Years worked for the DOE: Fifteen years

MAJOR MILESTONES: 

  • Created scaffolds that enabled EN/EM ENL students to successfully program robots in EV3
  • Was an Astor Educator with the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Author of an occasional series of facebook posts "This week in SPOCdom by the numbers..."

Melissa Ahart
Librarian/Technology Coordinator

Melissa Ahart runs one of the busiest school libraries in NYC, circulating print and digital books to an eager community of readers while also serving as her school’s SPOC. She teaches research skills, digital citizenship, and supports independent reading and runs a One Book, One School program with her equity team culminating in a virtual Zoom author visit for the whole school. 

  • Current School: MS 51 William Alexander Middle School
  • First role: Librarian
  • Years worked for the DOE: Fourteen years

MAJOR MILESTONES: 

  • Circulated over 30,000 library books in print and digital formats in the 2021-2022 school year
  • Ran virtual workshops on feminism and women's history for Office of Library Services
  • Writes grants and manages device inventory to increase technology access at MS 51.
Melissa Ahart headshot
Melissa Hannon headshot

Melissa Hannon
School Librarian and CS Lead

Melissa Hannon taught CS4all since 2019 as a cluster teacher. She trained the cluster team in CS4all during the blended learning model in 2020/2021 school year. She pushed teachers to use new smartboards and other technology in their classrooms for various subject areas. She established the “equity committee” at her school and advocates for technology use as part of that work.

  • Current School: PS 131
  • First role: Paraprofessional 
  • Years worked for the DOE: Nine years

MAJOR MILESTONES:

  • Started her teaching career in 2010 when she moved to South Korea as an English Language educator
  • After returning to NYC in 2013, Melissa became a paraprofessional for a 12:1:1 classroom at PS 131, Brooklyn. While learning how to serve our special needs population in this setting, Ms. Hannon pursued a Master’s degree in library and information science
  • 2015 - hired at PS 131 as a cluster teacher under her library license and developed a program called "Transliteracy". This was designed to bring a "digital library" to classrooms as she pushed in for prep periods. This was he chance to utilize classroom technology with students and bridge information fluency to tech skills from 2015-2019
  • 2019 - started with a CS4all cohort to be trained and a CS educator and now integrates CS4all into library instruction and trains staff to bring CS4all to their classrooms

Sheryl Leverett 
Parent Coordinator

Sheryl Leverett has gone from a novice in the digital/media world to taking the helm of her school’s website, Instagram page, hosting community wide Zoom conferences, and helping families make the proper connections to ensure that students had the technology needed during the “at home” and hybrid learning phases. As Parent Coordinator, Sheryl’s skill building and use of such tools as the translation features in PowerPoint, Mentimeter and Jamboard have enhanced the virtual workshops she has facilitated for families during the “new normal.”

  • Current School: Springfield Gardens Intermediate School 59
  • First role: Parent Coordinator
  • Years worked for the DOE: Eighteen years

MAJOR MILESTONES: 

  • A member of the District 29 Parent Coordinator Advisory Team to help mentor and support new and fellow D29 Parent Coordinators.
  • 2020 - Sheryl hosted 2 well attended District-wide Zoom/virtual events: A women's empowerment program "Made with Love"  and a Men's program during the D29 Dads Share Your Screen Week: "Strong Fathers, Strong Children".
  • As part of a 3 member grant writing team for I.S. 59Q, Sheryl helped craft a successful grant application for the initial $500,000.00 that has provided funds from the former NYC Councilman I. Daneek Miller's budget for a new state of the art library/media center for I.S.59Q with an estimated completion date of April 2022! 
Sheryl Leverett headshot
Alexander Arnakis headshot

Alexander Arnakis
Magnet Resource Specialist

Over the last ten years, Alexander Arnakis has been a key member of the MS82 community. As the school’s Magnet Resource Specialist, Arnakis has collaborated with his colleagues to bring forth new, innovative, thematic curricula to MS582 which includes, hydroponics, urban planning, architecture, fabrication, debate, and the arts to name a few. Additionally, this past year, Arnakis taught Digital Citizenship as well as the Mouse. org program. His scholars did an amazing job developing app ideas and bringing them to life.

  • Current School: MS582 The Magnet School For Multimedia, Technology, and Urban Planning
  • First role: 6th Grade ELA Teacher
  • Years worked for the DOE: 10 years

MAJOR MILESTONES

  • Alex began his career as a 6th grade ELA teacher at MS582
  • In 2016, took on the role of Magnet Resource Specialist and provided instructional coaching and professional development to staff in regards to Magnet and school initiatives
  • Accepted the role of as the school’s sustainability coach, SPOC, and teacher at MS582

Deirdre DeAngelis-D'Alessio
Retired Principal after 23 years as Principal of New Dorp HS

Deirdre DeAngelis has been a pioneer in terms of the implementation of technology at New Dorp High School for the last 23 years. She retired as the most senior female high school principal in NYC with 23 years as Principal. Her career spanned 38+ years as an educator and member of many steering and advisory committees throughout the years. As an educational innovative leader, she led her school from a failing NYS school to an national model of successful school improvement, utilizing a career/ themed based personalized Smaller Learning Community Model, a strong literacy program in all content areas and a constant focus on utilizing technology to support and improve all practices, instructional, as well as operational, throughout the school community.

  • First role: Student Aide 
  • Years worked for the DOE: Thirty-eight+

MAJOR MILESTONES:

  • 1979 - Deirdre started her career as a Student Aide in the College Office of her alma mater, John Dewey High School, and began teaching there in 1984
  • More than 38 years later, she retired as the most senior female high school principal in NYC, completing 23 years as Principal of New Dorp High School in Staten Island
  • Received an Honorary Doctorate from CUNY and the Sloan award from the Fund from the City of NY
Deirdre DeAngelis-D'Alessio headshot

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#NYCSchoolsTech Summit 2022